Butterick BP255 (Out of Print Lifestyle Wardrobe Pattern) Review, Part One

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I’ll start this review off by saying that I have a love hate relationship with this pattern. I love the pattern itself, but I absolutely hate the instructions. Some people would probably have an easier time with them than I did, but I there were some steps I had to read over a number of times because I kept feeling like they were missing words or parts of the instructions or something – I just had a lot of trouble with them. A couple of times I almost gave up, but I’d take a step back, run the problem over with my husband, think about it a bit, and then give whatever it was a try and hope for the best. It was one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had with a pattern since I started sewing, but I’m glad I pushed through it, because I love all the items I’ve made from this wardrobe pattern.

So far I’ve made the trousers, the blouse and the skirt and honestly, I don’t have any immediate plans for making the jacket, because cropped jackets unfortunately aren’t my cup of tea. The instructions for the skirt were probably the easiest for me to grasp, but the trousers and blouse were just frustrating.

According to the pattern envelope measurements I would need to use between a size 10 and a 12 (10 or 32 1/2″ bust on top, 12 or 26 1/2″ waist and 26″ hips on the bottom) but knowing that modern patterns tend to include an enormous amount of ease, I checked the pattern tissue itself for the finished garment measurements and from there decided that for the blouse I would use the size 6 (which is stated on the envelope as a 30 1/2″ bust) and for the skirt and trousers a size 8 (which is stated on the envelope to be 24″  in the waist and 33 1/2″ for the hips). So I had to go down 2 sizes from the pattern envelope for each to get a correct fit. I’m glad I took the time to check that (and that I was aware of this issue with modern patterns!) before sewing any of the garments, because now they fit quite nicely and I love them.

Today I’ll be showing you the blouse and the trousers – I haven’t gotten to photograph the skirt yet, so it will come in another post. 🙂 The blouse and the trousers are honestly awesome. I was nervous attempting trousers after that first horrible attempt, so I didn’t dive in and make these trousers right away – I made the skirt and the blouse first and then I knew I could “trust” the pattern and the fit enough to give the trousers a try and I’m really glad I did. I love them and I’m so happy with the pattern that I’m working on a second pair!

Other than the instructions being mind-bendingly frustrating, the biggest problem I’ve had has been due to my fabric choice for the trousers. I didn’t realize when I bought the fabric over a year ago just how much it would pill, which is a pet peeve of mine with fabric. If I’d have known at the time that it would be this bad, I wouldn’t have bought the fabric. It’s really disappointing, especially after all the work I put into these and how much I love them, to have them start pilling before I’ve even had much of a chance to wear them.

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Seriously! Ugh. If anyone can recommend a good way of combating this issue, I’d really appreciate it. I know it’s partly because I used a suiting fabric that is made of a bunch of mixed fibers and I’m going to stay away from fabrics containing more than two different fibers as much as possible from now on, but I haven’t even had a chance to wash these yet (besides hand washing the fabric before using it, of course) and already they are getting this bad in a few places. It’s a drag, I’m not gonna lie.

The blouse is super cute! When I wear these two together my husband calls me a secretary, which I have no problem with at all, because I actually used to be one! If I had the ability to dress like this when I actually was a secretary, I would’ve loved it.

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Yes, the waist is very wonky due to a bit of a mistake I made while making these, but I still love them. The trousers are quite high waisted and I love it! I’ve been wanting to try some vintage style high waisted trousers for quite awhile now and almost bought a pair over the holidays but didn’t because I didn’t know if this style would suit me or if I would like the way they looked, but I actually really like these! And I’m glad I made myself a pair, because then I had more control over the fit. This pair is a little loose in the waist and I could stand to take them in a bit – I probably will, actually. I hope to fix that issue in the pair I’m working on now (which is in a black pin stripe suiting fabric that I’m hoping won’t have the same pilling issues as this fabric!)

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I love the bow on the blouse! It was a nightmare to insert because of the instructions, but I’m glad I forced myself to keep trying, because it is just so cute!

The trousers have two darts in the front and two in the back and the zipper is in the back, which I’m a bit on the fence about. I like that it isn’t in the front, that’s for sure! But I think I would prefer a size zipper for trousers, if I’m really honest. Along with the zipper, it also has a hook and eye closure.

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I’m still not 100% comfortable with sewing zippers. We are not friends. Also, you can see more annoying pilling and that this fabric also attracts cat hair like no other. Ugh. My darts are a bit shameful as well. This fabric was awful to work with, especially since I hand sewed the trousers from start to finish (same with the blouse and the skirt). It frays terribly (as does the pin stripe fabric I’m currently using) and I had to enclose every single seam in one form of seam binding or another, just so the trousers wouldn’t fray to bits before they were finished.

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Some of the bound seams, an escaping fraying thread or two of the fabric, more &%!@ing pilling and more cat hair. Ugh, this fabric! Haaaaate!

Some inside details of the blouse –

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This fabric is lovely, by the way, it feels so nice and I believe it may be a rayon challis, but I’m not entirely sure, all I know is that I love it!

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You roll/fold the seams on the bottom of the blouse and the sleeves a few times before stitching them down to hem them, which was a bit tricky, but I got there in the end!

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This is the tie collar from the back. I know it doesn’t sit very flat in this picture, but it sits much flatter in the back when worn.

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Even though I have many issues with this photo, I wanted to show you the fluttery sleeves. They really are pretty.

Now, to compare these trousers to the first pair I made – does the new pair include enough room to smuggle an infant in your pants?

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Well, they “crotch” of the trousers is low, but nowhere near as low as the first pair, this seems closer to period appropriate lowness for this style of trouser – I could be wrong though! I definitely can’t smuggle infants in my new trousers, though, that’s for sure! But in the first pair, oh yes I could!

Just to remind you – the horror!

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Miles and miles of space, enough to smuggle babies or melons or basket balls! Thank goodness the new pattern didn’t turn out as bad as that one did.

The waist of the skirt and trousers don’t have actual waistbands, by the way, just facings, which was really difficult to get used to, and obviously I messed up with the trousers in this regard, but hopefully the next pair will look a lot better!

I should also note for fellow short gals – I’m 5’3″ and I had to shorten the trousers a LOT, like, by at least four or five inches, just so they wouldn’t pool around my feet on the floor. These trousers are incredibly long – which is great for the tall gals, but involves a lot of hemming for us short gals!

I definitely would recommend this pattern, because the results are really nice and I like how 30’s-ish they are, but I probably wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to beginners because of how frustrating the instructions are. By this point, I’ve probably made well over fifty garments (including a lot for charity and items I have since taken apart to reuse the fabric for different garments, etc), but I definitely still consider myself to be a beginner – even though I have a number of projects under my belt, have been building up my skills and have been sewing for over a year and a half now – I am still very much a beginner, and these instructions made me want to throw in the towel more times than I can count. If I were even more of a beginner than I am now (if I tried using this pattern in my first few months of sewing, for example) I don’t think I would have been able to “get” this at all. Everyone is different though and everyone learns at different rates, there could be beginners who read the instructions and get them right away and have no problems, so I certainly wouldn’t say this pattern is “off limits” or “too difficult” for anyone, especially since the pattern envelope claims that this pattern is “easy.”

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“Easy” Butterick? Really? Really? With your instructions? You must be joking!

Like I said, the pattern itself is fine, I had no issues with the pattern, it was just the frustrating Butterick instructions that made me want to tear my hair out – but then, people who are more used to Butterick’s patterns and instructions might not find any problems with these at all. The pattern is definitely worth making though, if you can find a copy. I got mine on Ebay over the holidays for a few dollars and I’m really happy with it, especially now that I’ve already made the items I love from this wardrobe pattern and won’t need to rely quite so much on the instructions next time around!

Have you ever tried this pattern? Do you like it? What do you think of Butterick patterns – and their instructions? Do you have a difficult time with them as well? I’d love to chat about it!

P.s. Sorry that another weekend has gone by without our pal Dior, that was a failure on my part. I might get back to those posts eventually – I hope – but right now my head just isn’t in it, I’m sorry!

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